Cuts to the $75 billion food stamp program would hurt the bottom line of Kraft, so the company’s incoming CEO is opposing any future cutbacks.
Tony Vernon is the incoming CEO of Kraft, the third largest food conglomerate in the world. He describes SNAP users are “a big part of our audience.” Indeed, Kraft estimates that one-sixth of the companies revenues come from people using food stamps. Cutting in to the program would also cut in to Kraft’s bottom line.
Obviously, advocating more government subsidies of Kraft foods is not a winning message. So Vernon says his interest is “feeding the 50m Americans who live below the poverty line.” He adds “I personally think that it is so important to feeding America’s families, and I hope that it continues.” Perhaps Mr. Vernon really does feel this way, personally, but he’s speaking as the soon-to-be CEO of Kraft. In that role his primary goal is making a profit.
The SNAP program has grown tremendously since the economic downturn of 2008 when the budget was just $39 billion. Last year the budget for SNAP ballooned to $75 billion and this year the total is expected to be around $81 billion. Roughly 1 out of every 7 Americans now receive assistance in the form of an EBT card. The card can be used to purchase food at grocery stores but not alcohol.
Some support for cuts to the program can be found on both sides of the aisle, but the proposed cuts are small. Changes to eligibility for the program could save about $4 billion over ten years. That’s less than 1 percent of the program’s current annual budget.